U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that major progress was made in New York State’s fight against the opioid epidemic via a package of new legislation, new funding, and disbursement of previously authorized Congressionally-mandated anti-opioid funding to local service and law enforcement entities.
First, the recently-passed Senate Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which has now passed the House and Senate and is expected to be signed by the President, provides $3.7 billion in Health and Human Services funds for programs addressing opioids and mental health, an increase of $2.7 billion over 2017.
Second, the bipartisan, SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, includes a number of provisions and funding authorizations critical to local and state anti-opioid efforts.
Lastly, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released $56.45 million, previously appropriated by Congress, to fund programs and organizations across New York State to respond to the opioid crisis.
“The opioid crisis is urgent, deadly and escalating, and it requires an all-hands-on-deck and all-of-the-above approach to support education and prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. This package of new legislation, policy changes and previously-mandated Congressional spending is a massive investment in the vital effort to help states and localities stem the tide of the deadly opioid epidemic,” said Senator Schumer. “New York has just received a major influx of new funds that is making its way to our communities right now. Additionally, the Senate invested billions more in opioid funding that ensures that New York’s programs to address addiction will be supported for the long-term. Finally, the House and Senate just finalized a significant piece of legislation that makes critical policy changes and creates new programs to help providers, first responders, law enforcement, communities and families beat back the scourge of addiction. It is my hope that a final version of the bill will shortly be on the president’s desk for signature. I was proud to fight for these necessary steps in the Senate, and will keep fighting until we beat back the scourge of the opioid crisis once and for all.”
“New York State has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, and communities are desperate for resources to end this crisis,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Congress should be doing everything it can to help our communities fight back and prevent the abuse of these highly addictive drugs. I’m very pleased that the Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education spending bill has passed in both the Senate and the House, and that it will soon deliver much-needed funding to our communities. I fought for several provisions in this legislation that increased funding for critical opioid prevention and treatment programs. I am also pleased that the Senate and the House are close to finalizing a new bipartisan legislative package that includes important provisions that I fought for, including federal support and funding for Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs that play a critical role in preventing prescription drug abuse and fraud. I will continue to work to provide communities across New York with the federal funding and support they need to combat the opioid epidemic.”
The Senate FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill provides a total of $3.78 billion in Health and Human Services funding for programs addressing opioids and mental health, an increase of $2.7 billion over FY2017 and the second year of a major opioid funding deal that Schumer secured is his capacity as Senate Minority Leader. Specifically, this includes: $1.7 billion in enhanced state grants to address the opioid epidemic and mental health; $350 million for opioid overdose surveillance and prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as enhancement of State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs; $495 million to improve access to opioid and substance use disorder treatment in rural and underserved areas; and $100 million to address the needs of children who are affected by parental substance abuse.
Additionally, the new opioid agreement includes a number of provisions that will support New York State in its battle with the opioid epidemic. First, this robust package of legislation includes the STOP Act, which will help stymie the flow of illicit drugs into the United States through the mail. It also includes numerous provisions that authorize grants for states to share information from various Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and give the FDA the ability to set specific packaging for dangerous prescription painkillers. The legislation also encourages recovery from opioid addiction through provisions to help states address the opioid crisis, create treatment and recovery centers, and expand access to medication that can aid in the recovery from opioid addiction. Third, the legislation includes provisions to help caregivers and families that are stricken by opioid addiction, for instance, provisions that help young, opioid-addicted people recover. Lastly, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act authorizes funding for numerous types of opioid-related research, for example, on new, non-addictive pain medication. The Senate and the House both passed different versions of the opioid-related legislation, and this bill reflects an agreement between the House and Senate. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the final bill shortly.
Lastly, SAMHSA announced late last week that the programs and organizations across New York State would be receiving a total of $56.45 million to address the opioid epidemic. Specifically, SAMHSA is awarding $36.83 million in state opioid response grants to New York, $17.96 million for 60 health centers to increase access to substance use disorder and mental health services, $200 thousand each to the Anthony L. Jordan Health Corporation in Rochester and Rochester Regional Health for Enhancing Behavioral Health Workforce, $1 million to rural organizations to increase access to substance abuse prevention and treatment services serving rural populations, and $250 thousand to S2AY Rural Health Network Incorporated in Corning to increase access to substance abuse prevention and treatment services serving rural populations across the country. This funding is the result of Congress appropriating billions in FY18 to fight opioid addiction.